When every day is not Remembrance Day

There have been a few receptions on Parliament Hill recently that exemplify the broad spectrum of policies held by political parties.  Earlier this month, all parties joined with family members and supporters of the late Shannen Koostachin, having passed a motion based on her campaign for First Nations students to have an equal right to quality education. It was a celebration of a common vision and shared beliefs.  I was very glad to see the government and opposition come together in such a way, especially given the tumultuous run we have had in the House on other subjects.

Just one week later,  it’s a different story.  Not a government member was to be seen as veteran’s expressed their disappointment about the Conservative’s failure to prevent cut-backs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Despite support from all major veterans’ advocacy groups, the government stood in force to defeat a motion directing them to maintain core funding which is critical to the well being of Canada’s military and RCMP veterans.  

For those who don’t know, Veterans Affairs resources are spent in a 90/10 split.  That is 90 percent actually provides program spending with the remaining ten going to the staff required to deliver them.  It is a lean department by any standard. 

To give a sense of the veterans disappointment is likely impossible.  Michael Blais, President of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, summed it up best during his speech when he asked why the government is not “standing on guard for those who stand on guard for thee."

It begs the question, what exactly are the priorities of this government.  They flaunt their support for our troops and accuse all critics of anything defence related of being anti-military.   They talk big and then claim broke when it comes to supporting our troops who have completed their duty to our country.   They deny benefits, release medical records to smear critics, and are paying for an overly expensive crime and punishment agenda on the backs of the people who are said to have protected our values.

Our values don’t include hanging veterans out to dry, but it appears that is more or less what this government is set to do.

When it comes to our military and RCMP veterans the official opposition firmly believes we need to ensure that the services and programs offered to them should not be compromised. We have to support our veterans who have dedicated their lives to valiantly serve our country and I can’t believe anyone out there thinks otherwise.